That's not what the Death card means

From beyond the Inner Sphere
written 2021-07-14 19:11:52

Well, I've had a week. A month? A forever? I don't know, it sucked though.

So, last month, my mom tells me she's coming to visit for a family function. I tell her that I'd like to come visit her in Vermont, since she's moving soon to Florida, fulltime. I have personal objections to ever visiting Florida, so it would be nice to see her in elevated climes and non-lunatic surroundings.

She agrees and we plan to drive up north in one car after the family event. I clear it with Ingrid and I'm all set. Having the decade-plus of "I can't travel I have work" and "I can't travel I need to stay available to work" I figured I should take advantage of not working and having paid off my loans.

My sister calls me up out of the blue to complain about our mother. She does this all the time, despite the fact that she won't allow Mom to spend much time with anyone but her. She has this weird psychological construction of "Mom has to stay with me" and "Ugh I hate it when Mom stays with me" and "Mom spent time with you last time she has to spend all her time with me" and "Christ I wish Mom would go somewhere else", all present and true simultaneously. It's pretty fucked up.

My sister complains that they went to Vermont for the long weekend of July Fourth, and Mom took her everywhere and paid for everything and it was so awful. I listened because my sister expects it, and it costs me little. (It does have a cost, mind you.) But she bitches up and down about spending this time with our mother, and then says I have to come visit while Mom is staying with her around the family event. I roll my eyes and I believe she can hear it over the phone.

I hang up with her, and then my Mom calls. She bitches about my sister for all the same things and reverses all the stories so she's the one aggrieved. I ask her if she's staying with my sister when she comes down and she says yes, for a week.

Mind you, she and I are supposed to drive to Vermont to spend a couple days together in her soon-to-be former house. I realize I've been bumped, and I'm not sure my septuagenarian mother's memory is all that good. Maybe she just forgot...? I quietly assent to her new plans without raising any objection. One of the things she angrily railed against my sister was my sister's claim that she is growing senile. She is NOT, she declaims.

I ask her why she would spend a week in Vermont, a week in Pennsylvania, and then a week in California (part of the plan that got my plans canceled) with someone who makes her this angry. She pauses to consider this fact. She says maybe she won't come to PA. I laugh mirthlessly to myself that I've managed to convince her to spend two weeks with my sister and no weeks with me. Ha. Ha.

She does come to PA and she stays with my sister and we all go to this family picnic. I have some weird facial paralysis from Bell's palsy, and this part of the family is MAGA as fuck, so I mask up for the whole day. I don't tell either of them about this because they're overreacting bitches and if I can keep it on the downlow for two weeks, no one has to get their panties in a bunch. I make a mistake and tell my niece who probably waited all of twelve seconds before telling every relative we have. Like mother, like daughter.

So my mom tells me she will spend one lunch with me the following week. This is my reward for telling her I didn't feel like she valued my time after a visit where she spent all week with my sister and zero time with me. She comes over and demands to know what's wrong with my face. "Your sister says you had a stroke" or some other gossip-fueled bullshit. I explain what Bell's palsy is and we get into the "you need to see a doctor" vs. "American healthcare is fucking bullshit" argument. My mom and my sister both married money, so they don't know that not having health insurance is a thing.

After this I buy her lunch, which makes her angry. She yells at me during lunch to be more considerate of Ingrid, which, man, have you met me? She leaves her chicken cheesesteak on the table where the dog can get it and makes me go show her where the alley is (amazingly, it's in the middle of the side of the block!) so I can unload some shelves she wanted out of the Vermont house. I come back in to close up the doors and find chicken cheesesteak all over the floor and the dog promising a slow death to anyone who tries to deny her this prize.

Then she leaves, complaining about how everything has to be difficult with me. I explain that she let the dog get at her very messy lunch, and she canceled on our plans to go to Vermont. And she says "yeah I know, you don't get along with my husband". She had not forgotten, she just unilaterally decided what our plans were and that I was no longer a part of them, without consulting me or apologizing or what have you.

Then she says I should come up and visit some time. Like, as though there was no context, or that she JUST SAID "don't come visit, my spouse hates you".

I used to respect my mom's willingness to buck the system; she left home when I was a young teenager and never came back. She said "fuck this marriage" as it wasn't doing anything for her, and regretfully walked out on her kids. She was around, it's not like she went out for cigarettes. But she wasn't in our home any longer.

But I think it taught her to just do what she wants and damn the consequences. When she disregards my sister's mental illness, it has an air of "she has to get help, I can't do it for her". When she decides it would be easier to just not have me visit, she makes other plans and leaves me to figure out what that meant. I'm not saying she is hateful or spiteful, just self-taught at being careless and neglectful.

Those are not great traits in your mom.

--6:59 PM, EST, Philadelphia, PA, and I dash upstairs to take cover

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